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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pablo in the Snow, written by Teri Sloat and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet. Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2017. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"With Rabbit's help, they stack the snowballs one on top of the other. Squirrel finds an acorn for the nose. Rabbit places frozen berries into a big smile. Pablo reaches up with two flat, round stones for the eyes. And, with Fox's help, Shrew adds a warm, fuzzy scarf. "Snow is for making friends," says Pablo, laughing."

It is Pablo's first winter. He has never seen snow, and he is pretty excited to get outside and make friends with it. As he goes, he quickly discovers the way it feels, and what happens when you walk in it.

"Snow is for making a trail," says Pablo."
Only then does he notice another trail, and wonder about it. It leads him to Rabbit and her sled. Pablo hops on and has great adventure on the nearby hill. It lands them in the middle of a snowball fight. OOPS! As they follow one set of tracks after another, Pablo continues to learn about snow and its many attributes.

Fox provides something even better - a new friend. Together, the animals build a smiling snowman. As the storm strengthens, the animals return to their homes. Pablo sits alongside this new friend, not wanting to leave him alone. It soon becomes apparent that his staying behind is not a good idea. But, he can't find any tracks to lead him home to the farm. The snowman can't help. Who will?

Rosalinde Bonnet's lovely watercolors make wonderful use of white space, allowing little readers full access to the winter wonderland meant for Pablo to explore. The brilliant snowy afternoon gives way to a darkening sky as evening approaches and the storm worsens. All that snow surrounds the tiny lamb. No wonder he is fearful! That is made very evident on a double page spread where his tiny form is overwhelmed by dark trees and enveloping snow.

A happy ending is satisfying, and much appreciated. No doubt Pablo will have much exploring to do after a good night's sleep!

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